European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen issued an open warning to Italy, hinting at consequences ahead of Sunday’s snap parliamentary election that the right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni is expected to win.
After barely scraping 4% of the vote in 2018, Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (FdI), or Brothers of Italy party, is projected to top polls. FdI emerged from a split within ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party, The People of Freedom (PdL), in December 2012.
Meloni’s current conservative alliance also includes Matteo Salvini’s League, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, and a minor coalition partner, Noi Moderati.
Before the blackout on publication of polls came into force on September 9, Brothers of Italy was seen as securing up to 25% of the vote, the League around 12% and Forza Italia 8%. This means that the coalition could easily win a majority of the seats in the lower and upper houses of parliament. The snap election was triggered by the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi in July against the backdrop of a fractious political coalition split over his economic policies.
Some European capitals have reportedly been voicing concerns over the forthcoming election and the blowback the results might have for ties between Brussels and Rome.
“My approach is that whatever democratic government is willing to work with us, we’re working together,” von der Leyen said at America’s Princeton University on September 22, when asked if she had any concerns regarding the upcoming elections in Italy.“If things go in a difficult direction, I’ve spoken about Hungary and Poland, we have tools,” she added.